As the Puritanical Libertarian frames things down here (the only place he has ever been), there is both need for and possibility of development. This development he has characterized as the production of virtue. He has warned against the expectations and predictions about the time and cost of the production of virtue given that those expectations and predictions are made by the less-virtuous, the undeveloped. At the same time, he has recommended faithfulness, staying the course, when all looks (from the eyes of the undeveloped) dim. What is this like?
This has always amounted to a diminishment of self by the self, a neglect of the craving and striving and asserting self even to the point of what feels (to the undeveloped) like death. It amounts to a waiting without. It amounts to a persistence in distrust of what has so far appeared to be the most trustworthy of guidance–self. Self wants. Self needs. Self demands. Self craves. Self strives.
All the while self, in its undevelopment, persistently characterizes the not-self as that which is to be changed. All the while self affirms its own (undeveloped) states as master and the not-self as slave. But we have examined this. What then of the alternative?
The alternative is what Jesus calls blessedness, Buddha calls nirvana, Lao Tzu calls sage status, Socrates calls healthy soul. BUT, not so fast. What is too often the case is that the in-between is overlooked. The undeveloped in me fills the end achievement with my own undeveloped dreaminess and constructs a causal sequence in which self does something easy and voila! Woe to me.
Let us affirm the possibility of self-development and the goodness it will bring without at the same time filling the journey with misexpectation. Let us bet that in our undevelopment we will only fill the in-between with craving, striving, demanding that is inadequate and malformed.
Welcome to the in-between. It feels rather parched, rather barren, rather like death. Oh, there is still feeling. But it is neglected. I walk with it but it does not guide me. What guides me? The best. How will I know it? Not until I know it. What is the insecurity of not knowing like? Terrifying. What will I do with the feeling of terror? Nothing. Abide until it passes.
There is something like entry to the church of good will in the moment. The rejection of earthly concern is not a rejection of the earth. It is a rejection of the earth as guide.
An example: one might be tempted to read the above as recommendation of starvation literally. First, there is no recommendation here. Only effort to develop. Read at your own risk. Second, there are two ways of approaching bodily sustenance. First, it can be approached out of want, demand, striving, craving. That is being rejected. These are not safe guides. Second, it can be approached as a fertile ground on which to train virtue. Eating can be a means to the production of virtue. Let eating be guided by an unearthly/unbodily guide. Live by that standard and not by the standard of craving. Is this easy? By no means. Will training it build virtue that will pay dividends in many other areas of life? By all means.
The example continued. Do not expect the ideal form of the good to be present when training begins. First, reject guidance by craving. Second, look around for a non-craving guide. The truth is that many of us “know” when our activity is guided by craving. Simply ignoring those opportunities to act will prick the monster that has been fed so lovingly. Acting courageously will be called for. Can you stand up to the monster? Can I? (I have found the more appropriate question to be “Will I?”) The continued courageous activity will produce courage. As that monster is neglected, resisted, not fed, it.will.diminish. Then, guidance toward eating can be reestablished in new light. The purpose of bodily consumption is bodily health. The purpose of bodily health is to produce. It should not take long to figure what that requires.
What is terrifying is confronting the way it will feel to move toward that which is right. The many will turn away not for lack of theoretical appreciation of adequate consumption but for an unwillingness to face the monster within that demands.
The Puritanical Libertarian does not judge. He has enough to keep up with over hear. He invites you to feed the monster or neglect the monster freely. You choose. Know that he is choosing over here. And you cannot know from there wherein his choice lies.
Finally, know that eating is metaphorical. Consumption is metaphorical. The ways in which the undeveloped demands, wants, craves, strives are legion. If you have literal eating under control do not rest. Simply move your attention to the area in your life that is not yet as it should be.
What a gift this time is right now to train! To repeat? Is it exciting and feel good to train? From attention on the end, yes. From attention in the moment, no. From forecasting future fruit of labor, yes. From engaging this undeveloped self and thrusting him toward development, no. From in the head, yes. From making that head do more than imagine, no. Do you see the pattern?
Moving embodied subjectivity such that the body goes where the subjectivity would not is what development requires. The subjectivity would consume. The body moves into a place of abstinence. Who moves the body? Herein lies the mystery. He is not merely body. He is not this subjectivity that would not move. He is the new man dear reader. He is being born. He is only here as long as he is instantiated.
How it will feel to the actual subjectivity to become new is like a dying, a going away. Could the colors of a leaf speak, the green would rage in fall at its diminishment and conquest by brown. And in the Spring brown would express the same as it was disintegrating on the ground. Up on the branch the bud would rage at no longer being bud, and the light green leaf could be conceived of as raging that it was becoming dark green. This is all in light of the transformation of subjectivity from worse to better.
The snake-oil salesmen talk as if development is an easy matter of just doing this. They lie. There simply is no just. There is only this subjectivity giving up its rights to instantiation and that subjectivity being earned, produced, made real. For he who persists in the process, the deep me, there is nothing but a wilderness, there is a distance from subjectivity that permits it time to develop without demanding that it be this or that.
The point of this post though is that it is the nature of subjectivity to crave, to grasp, to demand, to want, to need, to desire. To be a subjectivity feeling those things without following those things, to be in the world but not of it, is what the sages have long pointed at. The Puritanical Libertarian has found it to to be like a wilderness.
In the wilderness there is no path. There is nothing that stands out as sustaining life. There is this and that, but there is no order, the barrenness is not in the absence of life but the absence of high-quality life. There is material. Much. But there is not product. The human animal is born with want, craving, demanding, needing tied to bodily and emotional sustenance as its guides. This is visible in the infant, the toddler, and can even persist into adulthood. He who seeks to instantiate the new man who operates independently of that source of movement finds himself in something like a wasteland with no map.
Next…The conversion of wilderness into a home. On Homesteading.